Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Parameter Estimate of Nigerian Polytechnic Students' Attitude to Essay Writing

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Parameter Estimate of Nigerian Polytechnic Students' Attitude to Essay Writing

Article excerpt

Abstract

Though polytechnic students have a lot to gain from the study and mastery of the skill of essay writing, its teaching comes under Use of English which is not a core professional course so only students with the right attitude can withstand the rigours required to master the skill. There is therefore the need to determine the attitude of the students to the teaching of the skill as the information will guide the lecturers on steps to motivate the students. This study was conducted to investigate the qualitative value of the affective, behavioural, and cognitive parameters of polytechnic students' attitude to essay writing and to determine if there were significant differences induced by gender, faculty, and programme. The study was ex post facto in design and 100 male and female students randomly selected from ND and HND levels across three faculties constituted the research subjects. Parameter Estimate of Students' Attitude Questionnaire (PESAQ) was used for the study. Mean calculation showed that the students' attitude was ambivalent in the three parameters. Results from t.test and Anova also showed no significant differences induced by gender, faculty, or programme in the three parameters. The study recommended that polytechnic students should be assisted to develop positive attitude, not to allow their gender and professional characteristics to hinder their writing self-concept and interest in essay writing. The teaching of essay writing should also be given an autonomous status like technical report writing.

Keywords: essay writing, attitude, affective parameter, behavioural parameter, cognitive parameter.

INTRODUCTION

Apart from their professional course of study, polytechnic students have a lot to gain from the study and mastery of language skills. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are four language skills, which, if properly learned and skilfully used can be a veritable source of self-employment for a polytechnic graduate. Embedded in the speaking skill, for instance, are lyrical renditions (music), oration (master of ceremonies), commentary (sports), advertisement, and so forth. A skilful writer, on the other hand, can publish plays, poems, articles, and stories and earn an income. The language skills are taught along with other skills like logic and reasoning, comprehension, and grammar in a course aptly titled Use of English from the first year of National Diploma programme to the second year of Higher National Diploma programme. Among the aspects of writing skills included in the curriculum are essay writing (descriptive, expository, argumentative, and narrative), prose, and poetry. In a situation where all things work well, students who master the skill of expository and narrative writings should be able to produce publishable materials.

Use of English does not come as a core professional course in the polytechnic system and the students do not see it as one. It is given the status of a compulsory elective carrying only two units. This affects the students' rating of the significance of the course and unless they develop the right attitude to the course they may not be able to withstand the rigours of the teaching and learning the skills of writing publishable essays. Having a right attitude to the teaching and learning of essay writing in the Use of English curriculum is the only panacea for students in polytechnics and colleges of technology to benefit as expected from the course. There is therefore the need to determine the attitude of the students to the teaching of the skill as the information will guide the lecturers on steps to motivate the students. This was the objective of this study.

Attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual's like or dislike. The Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary describes it as 'the way we think and feel about somebody or something' or 'the way we behave towards somebody or something that shows how we think or feel'. …

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